Expenses in Japan

Jan 23rd, 2005, 06:49 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1
Expenses in Japan

My fiance may be going to Japan and he has asked me to go along. My husband went to Japan about 25 years ago and at that time everything was extremely expensive - the yen was very strong. i.e. - he was a photographer and said it would be cheaper to wait till he got home to buy a new camera. I'm just wondering how things are these days - are things still as exorbitantly expensive as they were back then?
suzieqmarie is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Prices have actually come down in the last 15 years or so in Japan, vs going up in US/Europe; so things are definitely cheaper. Maybe still more expensive than the US, but not Western Europe.

However, if you want to buy a camera, it's still going to cheaper in the US.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Expenses are not as bad these days as they must have been in the 80s. A new camera isn't a good measure of travel expenses. Lodging is the biggest cost. Depending on where your fiance stays, you may not have to pay more to stay with him (Japanese hotels frequently have single rates). But the double rates are not much higher.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 01:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Actually I will have to disagree with the above posters. 25 years ago the exchange rate from the yen to the dollar was somewhere around 220 to 240. It is now somewhere between 100 and 110.
So costs have doubled in US dollar terms in Japan in 25 years. Having said that I do find that the costs of imported goods in Japan have come down over the years but the cost of Japanese goods and services have gone up alot.
Now the good news about you going to Japan with your fiance is that airfares in general are fairly reasonable from the US. Also if you share a hotel room with your fiance the additional costs will be small unless he is staying at a ryokan which tend to charge per person. Food costs may be ok for you if you eat simply in restaurants that common people frequent, like those in department stores or near train stations. Transportation costs within Japan can be high but I doubt these expenses would run you more than a few hundred US dollars during your stay. I also think you will not shop much in Japan unless you are looking for goods that tend to be very local. Things that are made in Japan that tend to be exported widely tend to be cheaper or about the same as when purchased in the US.
Lastly you might as well go to go to Japan with your fiance if you are interested as the trip will be partially subsidized by your fiance's expenses. It may not be cheap but it is likely to become more expensive in the future or stay the same, not less.
mjs is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 02:30 PM
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After almost 10 years living in Japan, I've found that prices in yen terms have come down considerably for both domestic and imported goods. Before we moved here, everyone told us about the $15.00 hamburgers and $100.00 taxi rides and so on. We have found that it IS possible to spend $15.00 on a hamburger in Japan...but it is also possible to spend $15.00 on a hamburger in Boston or New York. It is possible to spend $100.00 on a taxi...but it's also possible to use an alternative means of transport at a fraction of the cost that takes the same or less amount of time.

Japan is, in effect, as expensive or as affordable as you make it. You can choose to stay in 30,000+ yen/night/person ryokan, or you can stay in a simple Japanese chain hotel like APA, Tokyu, Washington, Toyoko...there are more...for about 5000 or less per night per person in a twin or about 7000 yen for a single.

You can spend 500 - 700 yen for a lunch set (something like udon, soba, or tempura/rice/soup...many choices). Or, you can live it up and spend 10 times that in a luxe place or 5 star hotel restaurant. It's completely up to you.

Dinner...same thing. Depending on where you go and what you eat, you can spend a lot or a little. Real life example of dinner out...last week another poster from Fodors visited Kanazawa where I live and we had dinner together at a yakiniku restaurant. We were 3 adults and 1 child (age 7 who eats as much as I do). We ate TONS of food (steak and more steak, scallops, Korean rice dish, various vegetable and pickle dishes...), ...didn't hold back at all...had drinks (alcohol or soft drinks cost about the same) and ice cream for just under 10,000 yen or 2,500 yen per person.

Trains are expensive, as are highway tolls and domestic air tickets. As tourists holding foreign passports, however, you are allowed to buy a JR pass that is a great deal if you plan to move around Japan a bit. There are also passes available for the bigger cities' local transportation networks. Passes are definitely money savers and well worth researching.

Cameras...price is about the same here as in the US for the same model as far as I can tell....but if you buy a domestic market model in Japan you won't have warranty overseas. If you buy a duty free model the price isn't good and warranty is there but can be difficult to actually use your warranty I've heard.

Taxis...great for short trips I think, and if you are 2 or three people, they can be cheaper than bus/subway when you split out the cost.

All in all, it's not so bad. Once or twice a year we travel to the states, and honestly, we spend more there on things like hotels and restaurants than we spend in Japan.

KimJapan is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 04:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Maybe I'm just a better shopper now, butI also think prices have stayed very stable in Japan...

In the last few years, the Japanese have discovered shopping for bargains. 100 yen shops are all over the place, and the 800 yen lunch is still just as good as it was 5-10 years ago!

20 years ago, we paid about 20,000 yen per night for a hotel. That was about $100US at the time.

In 1993, we again spent about $20000 yen per night for a nice hotel or US $200.

A few weeks ago 2004, we again paid about $20,000 or US $200 a night.

In the US during that same time period, a Motel 6 went from $19/night to about $89. The same room at the Hotel del Coronado went from $89 to $375.

lcuy is offline  

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